The Filibuster Is One More Way SLAVERY Continues To Torment America — It HAS TO GO!

It almost always sucks when an unintended consequence punches far above its weight and delivers a knockout blow. That’s the filibuster. This bizarre tactic gives one person — one US Senator — the ability to stop what the majority wants in its tracks. In the 1960’s, Southern Democrats (now known as Republicans — as Heather Cox Richardson writes in her excellent “To Make Men Free: A History Of The Republican Party” our two parties, the Democrats and Republicans have, in essence, switched names since the Republican Party’s founding in the 1850’s) used the filibuster to block passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Back then, filibusterers were made to actually filibuster. The Senate’s Racist Coalition had to filibuster for 75 hours straight including a 14-hour and 13 minute address by Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia (before Byrd had his “come to Jesus” moment and repented his racist ways). The filibuster failed when the Senate invoked cloture for only the second time since 1927. The filibuster is antithetical to democratic governance — that’s why it’s the tool-of-choice of racists.

The filibuster has to go. Screw its giving the minority a voice against a hostile majority. That bullshit celebration of the “rugged individual” standing heroically against the forces of evil is actually a lone racist stemming the tide of equality. Or a handful of racists as with the Southern Democrats. It’s the few holding sway over the many. In America, that always means rich, Christian white men having power far beyond what they’re entitled to. That the filibuster still exists is a quirk of American politics and history. It arises from an accommodation made in 1806 to Aaron Burr — then the Vice President — before he left office. It was never intended to be used for ordinary business; (this is from Wikipedia: “a small number of super-majority requirements were explicitly included in [the Constitution], including conviction on impeachment charges (2/3 of Senate), expelling a member of Congress (2/3 of the chamber in question), overriding presidential vetoes (2/3 of both Houses), ratifying treaties (2/3 of Senate) and proposing constitutional amendments (2/3 of both Houses) — see the Wikipedia article “Filibuster In The US Senate” for footnotes and sources).

By 1846, the Senate tired of even casual abuse of the filibuster “rules” such as they were. This “addition by subtraction” was regularly bringing the Senate and its business to a dead stop while one Senator dead set on having HIS way, got up on his little pegs and spewed until either he got his way or 2/3 of the Senate (finally!) told him to shut the hell up already. Not the point of the exercise.

In the 1970’s, the Senate — trying to have it both ways — voted to keep the filibuster alive but make it more “practical” to apply: just what WAS NOT needed. Now, instead of having to actually get up in the Senate and speak for as long as they possibly could, Senators could now “threaten” to filibuster — and get all the benefits of a filibuster’s obstruction without having to any of the heavy lifting of actually filibustering. How white guy of them!

The fear is that destruction of the filibuster will make most every Senatorial decision a simple majority proposition. That proposition scares conservatives more than it does Progressives.

Let’s remind ourselves — the Senate, like the Electoral College, is, by nature and design unfair. The EC stands between each American voter and the president they vote for. We only pretend to vote for president; the Electoral College is the actual mechanism that picks a POTUS. And make no mistake — the EC exists solely to soothe the furrowed brows of slavers. There has always been dynamic tension in America between the populated, diverse cities — Blue America — and the unpopulated, white-ruled rural parts — Red America. On a map, all that red ink represents real estate way more than it does any people who might live on it.

Imagine a presidential campaign where voters in Ohio or Florida didn’t have the potential to literally decide a presidential contest for the whole country. Think of the undue but very real political weight this gives voters in one state over another — almost always rural over urban. Candidates chase “undecided voters” in specific states because their eye’s on the EC. That’s why they’ll go to diners in Iowa and listen to farmers like they were sages. Hey, they might indeed be very bright people with smart things to say. But how they vote should have far less impact on my life than it does just as how I vote should have less impact on theirs.

That the farmer’s vote matters more than mine at present — that’s a problem. The Senate’s design exacerbates it. Again, by design, rural voters get hyper-represented while urban voters get hypo-represented. Wyoming’s 445,000 voters get two US Senators. Same goes for California’s 45 MILLION voters. Each Wyomingite has a far better chance of getting their Senator on the phone — and doing what THEY need than any Californian does (unless they’re super rich). So, a sheep rancher in Wyoming stands a better shot at seeing his needs legislated than a Black single mom in Los Angeles who’s struggling to pay her bills. Such is equality in a system designed to deliver the opposite.

Fixing the Senate is a Big Job that will take a super majority of Democrats to accomplish. Don’t pooh-pooh the possibility. In “normal times”, the coming off year election in 2022 (and why the hell is anyone thinking about THAT already?) would advantage the party OUT OF power because the party IN POWER screwed up. But — cue the “Breaking News” banner — these aren’t “normal times”. The first job the Democrats now controlling the reins of power must accomplish is to undo as much of the damage Trump did as possible. That’s not the Democrats being political. That’s the Democrats GOVERNING.

Our news media — drunk off their asses on the “Both Sides Do It” kool aid — have convinced themselves and half of America that anything anyone does is motivated first by politics. This isn’t just cynical, it’s flat out wrong. They now think that both sides behave the same way and for the exact same reasons. Oy. Just… oy. Before the Democrats can even think about putting forward their “socialist wet dreams”, they FIRST have to solve the pandemic. Do that, they can solve the economy. In between all of that, the Democrats have to deal with the fact that the GOP just sponsored a coup d’etat against the rest of us.

And, on top of THAT, the Democrats have to deal with the fact that the entire Republican Party either participated in multiple acts of treason or stood by while treason and traitors threatened America. Countries that allow traitors to walk free will not be countries for very much longer. The traitors will see to it.

Right now, Mitch McConnell — our Treason Turtle MINORITY LEADER — is attempting to keep the filibuster alive both to protect racism but also to protect the traitors in his party. The fact that racists, bigots and seditionists would benefit — well, to Mitch, that’s all just icing. Odds are, if Mitch McConnell is FOR something? That something is rotten. Or Mitch is doing it for rotten reasons.

Repeat: the filibuster has to go. The people defending it have to disabused of their bullshit excuses (history, fairness, the tyranny of the majority) and made to fess up: they are standing in the majority’s way mostly because they’re racist — and keeping racism alive in America is more important to them than almost anything.

Now We Will Get To See: It Was NEVER Just Donald Trump Betraying America; It ALWAYS Was The Entire Republican Party

People around the globe felt the dark cloud lifting from America yesterday as Donald Trump returned to his Florida swamp and Joe & Kamal were sworn in. Ding dong, the witch is dead! Hit the road, Jack — don’t ya come back no more, no more! People are still talking today about how good yesterday felt. I bet we’ll still be talking about it tomorrow. Donald Trump was the equivalent of America getting cancer — nearly dying from it — but surviving, if just. But, the thing is, cancers like Trumpism are rare. They may infect parts of a body politic like ours, but killing the patient entirely? That suggests our body politic had other co-morbidities undermining our health at the same time.

Republicanitis, you could call it. Our Republicans are all infected and they came shockingly close to killing us with it.

In their defense, most Republicans tried to protect themselves from Trump at first. They supported other candidates in 2016. Yet, one by one even the other Republican candidates all succumbed — Ted Cruz (whose wife Trump called ugly and whose dad he accused of conspiring to assassinate JFK)… Marco Rubio (who honestly HE could win the nomination — HA!)… Even Mitt Romney who was just a Republican eminent gris

Want to know what it looks like when your soul flees your body, its hair on fire? Look at Mitt Romney’s eyes. You can practically hear the sound of Mitt’s soul: “Feets, don’t fail me now!” Mitt, to his credit, was the only Republican Senator to vote FOR convicting Trump during his first impeachment trial. That’s worth a lot. But so is the fact that Mitch still keeps plenty of Republican secrets. Mitch doesn’t have to KNOW for a fact that his fellow travelers are corrupt, seditionist traitors, but if he so much as suspects it, he’s obligated by the law — OBLIGATED — to say something to someone who might could stop it.

Strangely, Moscow Mitch McTreasonTurtle decided to zip it up good and tight.

Some time just as the Reagan years were ending, the Big Republican money (the Koch Brothers, the Mercers, etc) came to a stark realization: their day in the sun was done. In a generation or so, white, Christian males would be a minority in America and, they feared, likely to lose the political power they’d held onto since the republic’s founding. It never occurred to them that they might share political power with the growing, diversifying majority of Americans. Maybe they doubted they could learn. Instead, America’s right wing declared war on the rest of us.

Newt Gingrich himself said as much out loud. During the Clinton years, the Republicans committed themselves to NOT working the Democrats, to doing everything they could to deny the majority its voice and engineer a state of permanent minority rule. To do this, they first went after the judiciary. After Reagan, the Republicans have lost pretty much every single popular vote. If not for the Electoral College’s weighting our presidential elections toward slavery’s vote, Republicans would never win another presidential contest. Imagine presidential campaigns that didn’t focus on states like Ohio or Florida because there’d be no point. Every Floridian’s vote has the same weight as a Californian’s vote.

The reason Republicans can’t bear the thought of losing the EC is because the Republican Party (ironically) NEEDS slavery’s vote in order to stay relevant.

Without extraordinary measures, the GOP muckety-mucks realized, a Republican winning the presidency had become unlikely bordering on impossible. That left the Congress and the judiciary. The House is too tricky to try and control. Everyone has to run every two years. The Senate is easier to control and maintain. Like the EC, the Senate is weighted toward real estate rather than people. California with its almost 40 million people (39.78 million to be exact) gets the same number of US Senators as North Dakota which (hooray for them) just broke 800,000. See how much political power that gives each North Dakotan relative to each Californian? Hey, ever wonder WHY there are TWO Dakotas? It wasn’t because one Dakota wasn’t enough to contain all the Dakotans.

Republicans have been gaming our system for years. It’s WHY DC is not yet a state. Ditto Puerto Rico. And Republicans have been suppressing Democratic voters (especially the Black and brown ones) pretty much forever. You’d think Republicans have NEVER had faith in what they were selling and ALWAYS had to resort to cheating in order to win elections.

Democrats taking the Senate this election was a shocker to Republicans. Mitch has been playing forever with the electronic voting machines padding his numbers. There’s simply no other reasonable way to explain how Mitch McConnell keeps winning elections by a ton in a state where registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans and where Mitch is only slightly more popular than herpes.

Mitch knows how to steal elections. He knows how to run the Senate to his corrupt advantage. When his right wing money task masters decided the only way forward was to hijack the judiciary and fill as many lifetime posts as possible with young, delusional, conservative minds, the loopier the better, they turned to Mitch and said “Do it”. And damned if the Treason Turtle didn’t say “Yes, sirs!”.

While a handful of Republicans — Liz Cheney, Mitt Romney again — have forcefully condemned what the rest of their co-religionists have done, the overwhelming majority of Republicans haven’t. The Ted Cruz’s, the Josh Hawley’s, the Devin Nunes’, the Jim Jordan’s and the Matt Gaetz’s are all in for the long haul. They’re riding the crazy train all the way off the cliff and all the way down onto the rocks below.

I suggest “I Alone Can Fix It” for Donald Trump’s tombstone. Unfortunately, Trump has no sense of humor so the irony will be wasted on him. The biggest punch in the line is how staggeringly untrue it is. “I alone can fix it” isn’t true of anyone, least of all Trump. That includes how Trump “fixed” America.

Trump alone did not do this to us. He had plenty of help. Granted, plenty has a Russian accent. But the “R” next to MOST OF the names on the list of Trump’s co-conspirators stands for “Republican”.

Don’t Blame Conservatives For Lacking Imagination — They’re Conservative BECAUSE They Lack Imagination

I call myself a “Progressive” (I prefer it to “liberal”) because “progress” perfectly describes how I think we, as a nation, should govern ourselves — always mindful of the future. Conservatives are equally descriptive of themselves. Their thought process pushes them to “conserve” rather than progress. Okay. Fair enough. But, conserve “what”? What is it conservatives feel compelled to “conserve”? It can’t be the future, of course — it doesn’t exist yet. That leaves the present and the past. THAT is what conservatives want to conserve.

Conservatism’s bottom line is to hold onto as much of the past in the present as they can. They know the future is unavoidable — they hate that. If there was a way to stop progressing completely, they’d probably do it. Anything to keep as much of the past alive as possible. Now, ask why?

Conservatism, in America, is the bastion of Male, Christian Whiteness. In the conservative mind, America reached a zenith of a kind during the 1950’s. Still basking in WWII’s triumphant afterglow, America — with Ike at the helm (not that “awful”, pointy-headed socialist Adlai Stevenson) — built highways instead of rail lines because Americans are all rugged individualists who want to go their own way! But, even that golden age of conservatism isn’t really what conservatives aspire to.

That would be the 1850’s.

Republicans love the Electoral College because, by design, it vastly overweighs rural, more conservative voters while vastly under-weighing urban, more progressive voters. The EC was stuck into the Constitution as an accommodation to slavery. It still speaks for slavery every time we try to elect a president. In 1850’s America, “We The People” still referred to White Men and no one else. THAT is the America conservatives wish had been conserved like dinosaur DNA in a Jurassic Park movie.

Conservatives wish they could — as in Jurassic Park — reconstitute the conservatism of old and let it run amok. Part of the “running amok” would involve snatching up progressives and snarfing em like they were popcorn and the movie just started. From the conservative dinosaur perspective, a world free of progressives is a world freed from the threat of new ideas and new ways of thinking. After the idea of black and brown people voting, nothing scares conservatives quite like new thinking.

Think of it this way: if you’re conservative and change threatens you, then anything that causes change also threatens you. That puts “innovation” and innovating things in the “threatening” stack. Innovation will always cause change — that’s the whole point of innovating things — to change them for the better. But if change is off the table then innovation also must be held in check.

If we were talking sexual urges instead of ideas, a conservative would suggest “a cold shower”. They’d never suggest you “rub one out” because — clearly — you need to. That would be admitting, first, that you HAD a sexual urge (that’s verboten). “Abstinence only education”, don’t forget, is a deeply conservative idea. So was “Just say no”, Nancy Reagan’s “Reality, WHAT reality?” answer to “the war on drugs”. I guess Nancy wanted US to have more fortitude where drugs were concerned than SHE apparently did in her youth (she was notoriously talented, in fact) where performing fellatio was concerned. Oh well, never mind — it’s always different when you’re a Republican.

“Just do as I say!” That’s how conservatives have twisted “Do unto others”. In their sanctimonious minds, they’re the saviors of America. They’re the saviors of THEIR America at best. And their America was never THE America. Their America isn’t the exceptional one, OURS is — you know — the diverse America that scares the crap out of White America.

When people are filled with hope, purpose and a strong sense of community, they think expansively. They want to deliver as much equality to as many people across the community as possible because the return on spreading equality far and wide is a stronger, more dynamic — more imaginative — democracy that’s constantly innovating to solve our problems. That’s the core problem with conservative solutions — they were created to solve old problems. While the problems have evolved, the conservative solutions HAVEN’T — and, consequently, end up solving NOTHING (while thinking it has; meanwhile the problem continues).

If all you see in the future is problems, you’ll never see its potential. You’ll never see your own potential. That’s why conservative solutions don’t solve anything; they can’t. At best they can exacerbate. Mitch McConnell’s answer to our pandemic-caused economic collapse is to… what? Make people go back to work so they can continue to get sick and overwhelm the health care system and die — all because GIVING Americans money directly (actually — handing them back THEIR TAX DOLLARS) would prove that Universal Basic Income is a viable, smart idea?

Mitch’s idea of “having an imagination” is calling himself the Angel of Death because he intends to kill all legislation dead.

If we wanted to be generous, we could call the tonnage of Republican and Trumpian lying “imagination”. If only the lies were good enough to say they came from someone’s imagination. These were pulled directly from someone’s bloated orange ass.

America Is Overdue For A “Great Moral Reckoning”; The Republican Party Is Even More Overdue

The loudest sound to come from the 2020 election — ignore the howls of protest spewing from Trumplandia — was the celebratory gush of joy that took over countless streets across America the moment it became clear that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris had defeated Trump and Pence. That wasn’t just the happiness that comes from winning an election. The past four years weren’t just another “four years of our collective past”. Donald Trump never won the presidency — cheating does not count as “winning”. Take Russia out of the 2016 equation and Trump is not POTUS.

We’re slowly opening our eyes. What happened in 2016 was monstrous and deliberate. That wasn’t an election, it was an actual crime — that continues to this day. We inhabit a literal crime scene. There are actual bodies to step over, too. Take this to the bank: when we get to the good part of this story — where all the best reveals are — the picture we’ll get will be of a soft coup d’etat motivated by the fear of a diversifying America. We have just been treated to an exercise in Machiavellian dick-wagging by a bunch of rich white boys whose greatest fear is a Black man or (especially) woman telling them what to do.

An awful lot of Donald Trump’s animus toward Barack Obama is because Obama is a Black man. Take that to the bank, too.

We STILL haven’t dealt with slavery. The presence of the Electoral College is slavery itself reaching from the grave to haunt us. The EC vastly overweighs rural, agricultural states over urban states. Where the majority of Americans actually live. The Senate has the same, distorting effect. The reason Republicans insist America is a center right country is because of the stranglehold they have on the structure itself. Think of all the states like Wyoming, Idaho, North and South Dakota which have 550,000, 1.75 million, 800,000 and 900,000 people in them but also have two Senators against states like California, New York and Florida which have 40 million, 19 million and 21.5 million people — AND JUST TWO SENATORS. See how all those red state-ers are getting much more representation per person? They’re also getting a shit-ton more federal money than populated states like California.

The right is over-represented everywhere you look. It gives the incorrect appearance that America is “50-50”. It’s not. It’s nowhere NEAR 50-50.

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won by over SEVEN MILLION votes and counting. Personally, I’d stick a pin in whatever vote total Donald Trump has until we’ve put every executive at ESS & Diebold (the republican-owned companies that made and control the majority of voting machines across America) has been put under oath and grilled relentlessly about each of their machines’ BACKDOORS and their vociferous arguments against Americans voting by more secure hand-marked ballots.

We need to be reassured that crazy ideas like mine — that these Republican-owned companies (with Republican politicians on their boards and tons of the companies’ campaign cash in their coffers) have, for years, been using their backdoors to insert self-erasing code that’s been padding Republican voter totals. Please, please, PLEASE — PROVE ME WRONG.

Take this also to the bank: I won’t be proven wrong.

This over-representation of Republicans — in the government, in our imaginations and on TV — has created myriad false impressions and narratives. We feel their phoniness every time Mitch McConnell claims to speak for what “The American People” want. Treason Turtle Mitch McConnell speaks only for Mitch McConnell and the right wing money machine for whom he happily walks point.

That day, out in the streets, it wasn’t “winning” that fed our joy, it was the belief that, after four years, justice might have a seat at the table again (with the caveat that justice actually never had a seat at the American table before).

We want America to do the right thing. We ache for it. That’s why more of us came out for this election than have ever come out for an election ever before. We want America to do a far better job of living up to its ideals. We believe America can DO it. We’re going to insist, in fact. To get from where we are to those ideals will require that, first, we experience a Great Moral Reckoning.

Come to Jesus, come to Buddha, come to the Crypt Keeper if that’s what it takes. Whoever you have to come to to experience that moment of truth, come to them now. It’s time.

Republicans — living in the past as they do, are once again behind history’s curve. If America is overdue its corrective, imagine where it puts Republicans.

The ONLY Reason We “Think” This Election Was “Close” Is Because Of The Electoral College

As of right now — the counting still incomplete — Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have nearly FOUR MILLION more popular votes than Donald Trump. At nearly 73.4 million votes, that’s more than anyone has EVER gotten. Let’s put that fact aside — mandate that it is. If we were like every other democratic country, we, too, would elect our leader directly rather than via a system as bizarre, creaky and loaded with racism as the Electoral College. The Electoral College — this isn’t even controversial — was a direct nod to slavery. It gave the agricultural, less populated slave states undue political power while usurping political power from the more urban majority.

America has lived out of balance ever since. We fought a damned Civil War because of it. We’re still dealing with the consequences today.

Hell, we think a mandate election was close — when it absolutely was not.

How many elections have we had to sweat out over one state’s vote? Why in the name of democracy should one clump of people in one racist county have so much sway over the very people the racist hates in a city at the other end of the country? The EC — and the Senate — make that possible. The Senate also gives way too much weight to too few people — in the most rural parts of the country. While a touch of balance is good and appropriate, this much balance isn’t “balance”.

But then, it was never meant to be balance. The EC was always meant to create un-balance — just like it is today.

If we really want to know what “originalism” feels like in practice, it’s the Electoral College. See how well “originalism” works in a modern country? See how well it tackles our problems and issues? It doesn’t. It was never meant to — because it was never the intention.

Slavery was America’s original sin. The Electoral College was the mechanism that kept the sin in place. If removing it via Constitutional amendment is too arduous and time consuming, we need to support the states that are already hitching their wagons together to, in essence, “ignore” the Electoral College going forward. With the EC no longer a good way to play that state in an election — the state’s votes will be cast as if in a large, general election for POTUS — most if not all gaming of the EC will stop. There’ll be no point anymore.

Imagine getting a real picture of the electorate and the electorate’s voice. Imagine a simplified, more transparent, more direct political process that demands greater accountability to more people.

Imagine having a transformational election that we got to see in all its transformational glory because it wasn’t framed incorrectly by slavery.

Election 2016 wasn’t close. Hillary Clinton WON it by more than three million votes. That’s how other democracies perceived it. Joe Biden will top that.

We’re going to have a dithery conversation in America about how divided and conflicted we are. We’ll think that because the Electoral College game says so. The Electoral College game lies.

We’re not nearly as divided or conflicted as we’re being led to believe. Taking Donald Trump out of the equation will help quiet things. In time, as we all begin to breathe again, reason WILL take over. Never mind the craziest of the crazy. On the day he resigned because of Watergate, Richard Nixon’s approval rating still sat at 29%. It’s just a fact: 30% of this country don’t like the rest of us and never will. We get it.

We’re not talking to them. We’re talking to the rest of America.